On ‘Holocaust’ day, Kashmiris seek probe into Pandit exodus

Sanjay agreed that the exodus was not triggered by the happenings of January 19, 1990. “I stand vindicated by the register maintained in Geeta Bhavan,” he said.

ZAHIR-UD-DIN
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 20 2016 1:16AM | Updated Date: Jan 20 2016 1:16AM
On ‘Holocaust’ day, Kashmiris seek probe into Pandit exodusFile Photo

January 19 is observed by the Kashmiri Pandits as “Holocaust day.” According to them, the exodus commenced on January 19, 1990. However, the Kashmiri Pandit Sangrash Samithi (KPSS) president, Sanjay Tikoo has a different story to tell. He believes most of the Pandits migrated in April and May.

In an exclusive interview with me in January 2013, he said: “I was in Mumbai with my colleagues. All of us wanted to reach Kashmir to celebrate Heerath (Shivratri) in the last week of February. We reached Jammu. Somebody told me that migrants were getting registered at Geeta Bhawan. I went to the Bhawan and got myself registered as a migrant. My serial number on the migrant register was either 36 or 37. Soon after, I came to Kashmir and celebrated Heerath with my family.”

Sanjay agreed that the exodus was not triggered by the happenings of January 19, 1990. “I stand vindicated by the register maintained in Geeta Bhavan,” he said.

There is no denying the fact that January 19 was a tense day for all the Kashmiris. Revolutionary slogans were chanted across Kashmir, processions were taken out amid strict curfew restrictions and people irrespective of the faith they professed were scared. But, there is no proof of the exodus having commenced on that day. Sanjay sees a conspiracy in the exodus. “On Jan, 04, 1990, a local Urdu newspaper, Aftab, published a press release issued by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, asking all Pandits to leave the Valley immediately. Al Safa, another local daily repeated the warning. Surprisingly, the outfit did not own the statement and a clarification was accordingly issued. Even if the authenticity of the statement is accepted for the sake of arguments, why did the Pandits wait for a fortnight. It makes no sense that a community that had been threatened with dire consequences stays back for 15 days and then suddenly decides to flee on January 19.”

According to Tikoo something happened in New Delhi around March 15. “Haday Nath Jattu, a Pandit leader called on my father telling him to leave Srinagar by March 17. He further said that the Jawahar tunnel shall be closed after the said date.”

Jatoo, was seen by Ghulam Muhamamd Bakshi, Sheikh Abdul Kabir and Late Mr Dugga at Qazigund while fleeing the valley in March.

Sheikh Abdul Kabir told Greater Kashmir that all efforts to stop the fleeing Pandits went in vain. “Jattu was carrying a tiffen. He told us that he was destined to Jammu to attend a marriage reception. He promised his return within a couple of days.”

“Most Pandits migrated in April and May,” maintains Sanjay. He said scores of Pandits were killed from June 1 to October 1990. “This means a good number of Pandits were still in the Valley upto October,” he said.

Sanjay has sought a probe by a commission comprising members of both the communities. ‘We have to revisit 1990 jointly,” he suggested.

Noted human rights defender, advocate Parvez Imroz seconds Tikoo’s suggestion. “The exodus needs to be probed to unveil the truth,” he said.

 

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